Remains of former continent found scattered under the Indian Ocean
The Indian subcontinent has been having a rough 85 million years. The land mass has been moving north for a long time, having once been situated closer to modern Madagascar, but now slowing grinding its way into Asia, crushing mass both upwards into to the Himalayan mountains and downwards into the Earth’s crust. The trailing edge of India’s movement has had a slightly easier time, but just barely. New evidence indicates that a land mass that nearly linked India and Madagascar has been destroyed in all this upheaval, being littered across portions of the Indian Ocean.
The ancient continent has been named Maurita, and was discovered thanks to unusually strong gravitational fields in sections of the Indian Ocean. These variances indicated that there was additional mass in those portions of the Earth’s crust, possibly thanks to hunks of land that had been scattered across the ocean.
Buried bits and pieces
A volcanic island called Mauritius, off the coast of Madagascar, was given a closer look. While the island is thought to only be eight million years old, zircon crystals were found there that dated back two billion years. It’s thought that they were brought to the surface thanks to volcanic activity moving rock and magma from deeper underground, and offer a glimpse of the much older territory that used to be there, before India moved north and basically ripped it apart.
As Maurita was torn apart into multiple pieces, it’s thought that other volcanic islands in the Indian Ocean may also be resting atop its buried remains. The Cargados Carajos, Laccadive and Chagos islands are all thought to sit on top of pieces of Maurita. Beyond those, geologists are also looking for shreds of other lost continents around the world, including off the shores of Western Australia, and possibly underneath Iceland.
Source: Long-lost continent found submerged deep under Indian Ocean by Alice Klein, New Scientist